Kyle Chilton | Posted: 6 Nov 2020 | Updated: 2 Dec 2020

Matt Haarms named to Watch List for 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award

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Three cutout photos of Matt Haarms with the text 'Matt Haarms 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Watchlist'

Starting Five Fan Voting Presented by Dell Technologies to go Live Today, November 6

Springfield, Mass. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today that BYU’s Matt Haarms is one of 20 watch list members for the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its seventh year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

“The final Men’s Starting Five watch list we are revealing is that of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is unparalleled when it comes to his accomplishments at both the collegiate and professional level. As an strong advocate for education and character, he brings a significant perspective when evaluating talent and we greatly value his involvement.”

From Amsterdam, Netherlands, Haarms was one of the best rim protectors and most efficient post players in the Big Ten in his three seasons at Purdue. In 2019-20, Haarms averaged 8.6 points and 4.6 rebounds while ranking fifth in the Big Ten with 2.0 blocks per game.

As a sophomore in 2018-19, Haarms led the Big Ten in blocks with 2.1 per game and field goal percentage at 63.2. He also added career-best averages of 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds while helping the Boilermakers finish with a record of 26-10 and advance to the Elite Eight of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

In three seasons at Purdue, Haarms played in 102 games with 40 starts and averaged 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. He is fourth all-time in school history with 210 blocks and sixth in career field goal percentage at 58.2. He owns career highs of 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969). As a professional, Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star and the league’s all-time leading scorer.

College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In late February, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.

The winner of the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on Friday, April 9, 2021, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award, in addition to the Women’s Starting Five.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Luka Garza, Iowa (2020), Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (2019), Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).

For more information on the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the latest updates, log onto and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram. Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live today, November 6.

2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates*

Matt Haarms


Mark Williams


Kofi Cockburn


Luka Garza


Olivier Sarr


Ahsan Asadullah


Cameron Krutwig

Loyola Chicago

Mousa Cisse


Liam Robbins


Armando Bacot

North Carolina

Walker Kessler

North Carolina

Trevion Williams


Grant Golden


Evan Mobley


Neemias Queta

Utah State

Jay Huff


Derek Culver

West Virginia

Charles Bassey

Western Kentucky

Micah Potter


Loudon Love

Wright State

*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2020-2021 season*

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit, follow @hoophall and #KareemAward or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.

Basketball Hall of Fame Media Contact
Nicole Taylor, Position Sports //

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